Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Christopher Lee is 86 today! Hooray, Dracula!

Today would also be Vincent Price's birthday, but he's dead.

Richard Schiff is also celebrating, at the age of 53.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Awesome Fall of Mr. Stone

In W. news, two roles were cast, one of them quite recently.

Scott Glenn

is playing Donald Rumsfeld

instead of Tommy Lee Jones

as previously reported.

Oh, and do you want to know who's going to play Vice President Dick Cheney? Shit, I know you do.

will be played by



Monday, May 19, 2008

Holy Shit....

Holy shit, this trailer for Australia is my cup of tea.

Weekend Warrior

Summer's officially begun. I know this by who's down from school. Obviously, my roommate and I are down, my editor/girl Friday is down, and the people who never left the city are here. But when Caleb comes down from New York, it is official: the Four Month Movie Mega-Marathon has begun!

We celebrated earlier, seeing two movies before he came down, saving what had to be the best for last. Let's see how we did...

Then She Found Me
Helen Hunt's debut as a director is not completely terrible. There are more than a few good moments here and there, though she seems to have a problem with continuity. Many times, you can tell the scenes were spliced together from several different takes. There is one scene near the ending featuring Bette Midler in her dressing-room, for example, that feels as though it was filmed between lunch and the scheduled shooting. Awkward and rushed, not all the shots seem to go together: one minute her pants are around her waist, next she's just putting them on, then she's clenching them around her ankles. Work on it, Helen.

What it does boast is a fine cast. Bette Midler, it is no surprise, is just fine as the talkative birth mother of Helen Hunt's April. Hunt herself turns in a remarkably moving performance, leaps and bounds superior to her Oscar-winning one. Colin Firth outshines everyone else, putting in what might be the best work I've seen from him thus far (though, admittedly, I've yet to see Pride & Prejudice). While everyone else, even the scribe herself, seems to be having trouble making sense of Hunt's dialogue, Firth makes every word, every syntactical element, believable. It is the most sympathetic role in the film, I think, and most of that is the way Firth plays it. Good show.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
Look, I grew up with these books. My mother read them to us, then we read them ourselves. We watched the BBC movies. We listened to the radio series. They're fun and imaginative and suspenseful and amazing. Why is it so hard for Andrew Adamson to make a great film out of these books?

It's better than the first one, which wasn't bad but startlingly mediocre. The problem is, one has to wait almost an hour for it to happen. The lead children appear to have gotten a little bit worse--except for Skander Keynes as Edmund, the only one with a sensible character that's believably played. Of the kids, that is. Ben Barnes' Prince Caspian is quite something, dashing and gallant and sexy. Both my roommate and I were reminded of a young Johnny Depp, and I hope his career is just as successful.

Still, I wish someone would tell Adamson that slow-mo does not equal suspense. I'm so tired of battle scenes where we get close-ups of Peter's face screaming, "NAAAAAARRRRRRRNNNNNNNIIIIIIIAAAAAAA!!!!!" while swinging a sword for five minutes. Not only is it terribly cheesy, but it takes one out of the moment. And I do wish they'd do something with Georgie Henley's Lucy. I don't know what, exactly, but whatever thrill there is just dies when she's around. See, this is why I didn't like child actors for years.

But Caleb eventually arrived, and insisted that we see Redbelt, the new David Mamet film starring Chiwetel Ejiofor. There are twists and turns throughout that are great fun to witness without any prior knowledge, so let's just say it's about assholes and Jujutsu.

As a student of both film and theatre, I'm ashamed to admit that my only experience with Mamet thus far is the so-so The Edge, with Anthony Hopkins, Alec Baldwin, and a bear. I was ready to hear odd dialogue delivered awkwardly. The usually dependable Ricky Jay wrestles with his script in his first scene, yet his performance thereafter is eloquent, slimy, believable, and played completely differently. Most of the cast has no problem whatever the task at hand, except for Alice Braga. While impossibly beautiful, she is just not credible as the "Brazilian princess" married to Ejiofor's Mike Terry. Her line readings are just that--readings, emotionless and rushed.

And that's a pity, because the rest of the flick just shines. Rodrigo Santoro, playing Braga's brother Bruce, is suave and dastardly. You hate him, but at the same time, there's a certain charm. Tim Allen, in the small role as Hollywood actor Chet Frank, is just fine, and makes a great case for him to do more drama. Please? Joe Mantegna, as Chet's agent, is just as good. Emily Mortimer, as an attorney who befriends Mike Terry, is superb. I've followed her for a while, through The Kid and Scream 3 and Lars and the Real Girl. I love her. She always does a fantastic job, and I love her for it.

Ejiofor is absolutely solid in the lead. Mike is someone you want to lunch with, train with, meditate with, hug it out with. It's a subtle, controlled performance, never going into melodrama, never emotionless, never dull. Just watching him react to everything around him is a pleasure, a reward for watching him all these years. It's his best performance, period. The end: perfect. Just the whole way he plays it, the way Mamet just knows exactly where to stop. It's perfect.


On the whole, a pretty good time. A so-so "epic", an all right chick flick, and a superb sports movie. The Summer Movie Season is in gear. Lord help us all.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Please Be True


Javier Bardem dropped out of the musical Nine, an announcement made just when Nicole Kidman and Judi Dench were added to the cast.

However, guess who's in talks (not signed, but in talks) to replace him?

I'll give you two hints:

1. He's never done a musical before

2. He's won two Oscars

Give up?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

From IMDb's news feed:

"Actress Drew Barrymore chased a hit and run motorist around Los Angeles after the reckless driver smashed into her car and sped off.... The 50 First Dates star was driving in West Hollywood just before 12pm on Monday when she was rear-ended, reports Tmz.com. But instead of pulling over to exchange insurance details, the perpetrator made off - forcing brave Barrymore to take vigilante action. She eventually lost track of the vehicle, but she did at least commit the offending car's license plate number to memory - and pass on the information. Police are reportedly investigating the incident, but no arrests had been made as Wenn goes to press."

I like to imagine Drew being rear-ended and waiting patiently. Then, upon seeing the other motorist flee the scene, scream out, "Aw, HELL NAW!" Superfly blares on the soundtrack as she gives chase, only to lose him when she stops to let an elderly woman holding a puppy, a baby, and a Bible cross the street. "Bless you, child," the old lady says, and she gives the actress a daisy. Drew files the report with a cop, but when she gets to the parking lot, she sees the cop getting into his car--the same one that hit her!

The cop looks at her and smiles. Drew nods, understanding. They will meet again.

(Photo provided by kateblogsworth.wordpress.com)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Go, Speed Racer, Go!

In looking at the box office tallies for this past Mother's Day weekend, I've noticed something unsettling: Speed Racer is only #2. And while I'm a big fan of the #1 Iron Man, I can't help but be shocked and appalled at the lack of Speed love. True, #2 is not a shabby place to be, but good Heavens. Speed Racer, people.

I was a huge fan of the television series growing up. I had a few issues of the comic book series from the late 80s/early 90s. I knew everyone's name and relationship to Speed before checking out IMDb, and that is no small feat --even for my favorite superhero, Batman, I had to research Lucius Fox.

Naturally, I was excited to finally see it come to life, and on the IMAX, no less! But I had been hearing pretty tepid things about it, so I was worried. Did it fail to capture the show? Was more time spent on the visuals than on the story or characterization? Were the performances or, even worse, the screenplay, insincere?

No suspense here, folks: a big fat NO to all of that.

The Wachowskis found the heart and soul of the original series, recreating it tenfold for the motion picture. Yes, racing and cars and fantastic chase scenes and the Mach 5 and all that. But they nailed the true essence of the series: family. The bond between family members, both blood-related and pseudo-adopted (Sparky), is the driving force behind the storyline. Hell, that's why the Racer X/Rex Racer plot was such an important part of the series.

Speaking of which, let's get it out of the way now: Matthew Fox rocks. There could not have been a better choice for the role of Racer X. Fox is bad-ass, rattling off lines in a clipped, bad-ass tone, driving bad-assedly in a bad-ass car. This is the Racer X I remember, if just a tad more sentimental. And it works. I found myself tearing up in one of his last big scenes.

I found myself tearing up a lot in this movie, actually. It's sincere, is the thing. Susan Sarandon is the mom you always wanted your friends to have (because if she was your actual Mother, you'd go to hell for those thoughts). John Goodman's Pops is the quintessential dad. He loves his wife, protects his kids, and destroys would-be assassins with his fists of glory. At one point, Speed recounts a bonding moment with his father, and it's fantastic. The father-son relationship is perfectly nailed.

Emile Hirsch was good, too. He was. In both the script and the performance, there's no trying to make Speed out to be more than he is. He's not smart and he's a little naive. But he's also a damn good racer and a great guy. I'll say this: he's awfully quiet. I believe he even has fewer lines than Korean pop star Rain (who's great in this). But it's fine, because Speed doesn't talk, he drives. Excellent, brilliant, here's your Oscar.

Okay, maybe not for acting. Though let me just say again, Susan Sarandon and John Goodman. Campaign, please. If anything has a chance, of course, it's going to be the Visual Effects Orgasm of the Future. Trying to make a live action, is it possible? From the looks of this movie, I'd say yes, yes, yes! It's beautiful and wonderful, like cotton candy or Skittles. What a wonder! And the costumes! My esteemed editor wanted Trixie's wardrobe; I wanted Racer X's, maybe Speed's, too. And sure, Sparky looks like a dancer at a gay club for most of the film, but what's wrong with that? It's awesome.

Michael Giacchino's score, by the way. He really is shaping up to be one of the greatest composers of this generation. As if Ratatouille, Lost, and the thirteen minutes at the end of Cloverfield weren't enough, he makes Speed Racer his own, while also remembering to pay tribute to the original. How many times did I get goosebumps as I heard the faint traces of "Here he comes, here comes Speed Racer..."? Incredible!

Don't let this happen again, people. Make Speed Racer you're next assignment. Go out to the nearest cineplex and buy a ticket. Regular theatre, IMAX, it matters not. Speed Racer is a grade-A class act.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Make a Joyful Noise

Wow. I can't believe that's Josh Brolin. Or George W. Bush. Still, I don't see a speck of JB in here. Amazing.

On the other hand, Elizabeth Banks looks like Laura Bush. Sexier, of course, but not by much. Mrs. Bush is, after all, a fox.

Oh, W., why are you making me wait for you?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Where's Drew?

So, you wouldn't know it to watch this, but Drew Barrymore voices the lead chihuahua in this new movie....out in September, in which a spoiled dog gets lost during a vacation in Mexico. With Cheech Marin, Edward James Olmos, and the lovely Salma Hayek.

Still, how cute is this?

Casting Coup: The Day of the Locust

Summer vacation has begun for me and most of my fellow college students. This means more time to lolligag, less things to do (everything around here closes at 11), summer jobs, and summer reading. Of course, I don't actually have any assignments from the school, but my grandfather insisted I give some books of his choice a try.

He started me off with The Day of the Locust by Nathaneal West.

It's a Hollywood tale, and we know how much I love those! But it's also about inhumanity and anger, with Los Angeles becoming a place where people come to die. The characters scoot around in claustrophobic boredom, drinking and holding cock-fights. But nothing will deter the time of violence, the hour of brutality, the day...of the locust!


Who is She: A guest at one of the Hollywood parties who adores talking of smutty things. When intruding on a conversation some of the men are having, she is shocked and disappointed to find that they are talking shop, not sex. An outrageous, outlandish female.

My Choice: And who better to play an outrageous, outlandish female than....

Molly Shannon (Wet Hot American Summer, Osmosis Jones)

Who is He: One of the cowboys, he sits in front of the saddle store and pokes fun at Earle. And...that's about it.

My Choice: We haven't seen him play too many bright boys lately, but apparently he can do it.

Garrett Dillahunt (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, No Country for Old Men)

Who is She: A high-priced call girl who also happens to be a friend of Faye's.

My Choice: Why has no one played up the unconventional hotness yet?

Lizzy Caplan (Cloverfield, Mean Girls)

Who is She: The landlady at the Bernadine Hotel, she arranges for funerals and guilt-trips.

My Choice: She excels in these parts.

Margo Martindale (The Riches, that yogurt commercial where she plays a laundress)

Who is She: A former screen siren who lost her job with the talkies, she is now the Madam for the most expensive call girls in California. Catering only to the rich and privileged, she makes the deals in her mansion, though it is never used as a rendezvous spot. She also screens pornographic films there.

My Choice: A beauty with a voice the talkies wouldn't allow?

Fran Drescher (Life with Fran, The Nanny)

Who is He: A hot-tempered dwarf, he acts as a bookie for anything and everything--horses, chickens, you name it. He drinks too much, though, and is subject to mood swings. Occasionally, he uses his head as a battering ram. It's funny.

My Choice: Oh, the dwarf pool is so small in Hollywood. Get it?

Jordan Prentice (In Bruges, Howard the Duck)

Who is He: A successful screenwriter, he has an odd sense of humor--such as the surprise at the bottom of his pool. He befriends Tod and takes part in the cock-fight, but knows enough to get out when he can.

My Choice:

Toby Jones (Ever After, The Mist)

Who is He: A Mexican friend of Earle's. He doesn't speak much, but he does have tequila. He dances and sings, seduces women, trains roosters, holds cock-fights. He's a fun-and-games man.

My Choice: I'm thinking someone bad-ass.

Freddy Rodriguez (Bobby, Grindhouse)

Who is He: A self-proclaimed cowboy, he limits his western ways to standing by mysteriously and sitting in front of the saddle store. Goes out to dinner broke, so someone else has to pick up the tab. A wee bit of a temper: thrice does he strike out at people, twice over a girl.

My Choice: God, I would love to see him parody the brooding.

Christian Bale (I...seriously? You know him)

Who is He: Yes, that's his name. A quiet man who tries to remain celibate, he winds up living with Faye after falling for her. But no sex. You always got to be careful of those quiet types, and he's no exception.

My Choice: Good-looking enough to please Faye, yet awkward enough to be Homer.

Peter Sarsgaard (Jarhead, Rendition)

Who is He: Father to Faye. A former vaudevillian, he can never break the habit of performing. Meets Homer while selling polish. A sickly man, he spends much of the book laid up in bed, reminiscing on old times.

My Choice: Established actor who can clown around.

Academy Award Winner Dustin Hoffman (Kramer vs. Kramer, Rain Man)

Who is She: A beautiful blonde, she wants to break into show business. Trouble is, she's no good. Like her father, she is always putting on a performance, so it's hard to tell when she's being honest or not. Uses her looks to get what she wants.

My Choice: The only one I can think of for this role: beautiful, yet gritty. And a finer actress than given credit for.

Brittany Murphy (Little Black Book, Clueless)

Who is He: An artist being trained in sketching costume and production designs. He falls for Faye, but she makes it clear that there will never be anything between them. Imagines Los Angeles as a wasteland whose inhabitants will one day burn it to the ground.

My Choice: Looks like the book's description, and golly could he play it.

Tobey Maguire (The Cider House Rules, Seabiscuit)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Iron Man

As promised, I saw Iron Man Thursday night. And that was also the last time I saw the Internet. So, I'm going to try this out, and hope that nobody came by Friday or Saturday, only to be met with disappointment.

Speaking of disappointment, that is one condition that is virtually impossible when watching Iron Man!

Now, keep in mind I have never read the comics. I never watched the show. Indeed, like many people, my familiarity with Iron Man goes about as far as the Black Sabbath song, which I first heard in fourth grade while being driven to school. And I thought to myself, "Wow. What a cool song. I hope one day they make a movie out of this song starring Robert Downey, Jr., and directed by the guy who will direct Elf one day!"

Because I was a gifted seer back then, my hopes came true. Thank goodness, too, because I think Mr. Downey has given us one of the greatest superhero performances. Period. Tony Stark is prickish, egotistical, a man who likes to have a drink before and after sex--I suspect he sneaks a sip during, as well. His transformation from selfish schmuck to enlightened crusader is smooth. He doesn't give up all of his vices, but, as he says, he now knows what he has to do. He can no longer run a business that deals in death, opting instead to defend the defenseless.

Thankfully, we're spared the brooding of the X-Men, the dead-seriousness of Batman, and the life lessons of Spider-Man. At the very least, they're not shoved into our faces. Everyone just seems to be having a good time, from score composer Ramin Djawaldi (who sneaks some notes from the aforementioned song into his own original work) to the thesps: Downey, Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges....

This may be my favorite Jeff Bridges performance. Yeah, all respect to The Dude, but Obadiah Stane is just so cool. You know he's the villain. You can tell. But until you actually see him behaving nefariously, you can't help but love him. Maybe it's the ties, maybe it's that class ring, maybe it's that bald head. There's just something in the way he moves.

Now, some have spoken against Favreau's action sequences. Okay, maybe they are a little short, and the finale's not the most spectacular of fights. Still, it does its job. There's suspense, and thrills, and little moments that make you go ah-ha! and haha! And thank God, it's the first superhero movie in which the love interest is not the principal endangerment.

It's also nice to see a romance dealt with as maturely as the one here. Paltrow and Downey have great chemistry. Paltrow especially is splendid as the secretary finding herself in love with her boss, yet without any angst or anxiety. There's just that little bit of confusion, that hint of affection, that makes it so believable and true.

I highly recommend Iron Man. I'm sure I'll be seeing it again in theaters, then buying it on DVD, then hoping against hope that someone--Globes, maybe?--has to good sense to recognize the achievements within. Stay after the credits, too. It's so worth it.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

What the Deuce?

Javier Bardem is no longer to play Guido in the adaptation of Nine. Apparently, all the "work and awards season" have taken a toll on him (Variety).

And so, the dream if seeing Anton Chigurh sing and dance is denied me once again.

On the other hand, does this mean they'll give Antonio a call?